Concerns have increased about the environmental impacts and safety of our food supply in the past several years. This public uneasiness has spurred multiple investigations of where and how food is produced and the corresponding impacts on our environment and climate. In addition, the consumer demand for local food products nationwide has risen. Given these developments, the Leopold Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative conducted consumer market research in July 2007 to examine the complex relationships among food safety, health, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and different food system scales (local, national, global).
Specific objectives for this research were to:
1. Ascertain consumer perceptions regarding food safety, within the context of where their food comes from and how it is grown;
2. Assess consumer understanding of the impact that various scales and production methods of the food system have on greenhouse gas emissions;
3. Determine whether consumers are willing to pay more for a food system that has a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; and
4. Gauge consumer perceptions of health benefits from local and organic foods.